Chorus of One

Listen as r beny granulates himself

Even the most talented musicians can be self-conscious about something. In the case of r beny, the focus of his doubt is, apparently, his voice. Here, for the track “A Path Opens in the Bloom,” he takes a sample of himself vocalizing (“trying to hold a C, I cannot sing”), and then processing it through granular synthesis. What this means is he is taking tiny slivers of the voice and holding them for an extended period, essentially turning a little thing into a whole. Further, he is layering the same sample played at different note values, creating a chorus of one. Without getting too technical, if you’re wondering where that raspy texture comes from, beny is running the audio through the cassette deck seen in the upper left. The deck isn’t merely recording the audio; it is also immediately outputting what it records, so we’re hearing the result of the degradation that the tape impresses upon the source material. Beny writes in more detail about the track’s impetus and his process at his YouTube page. He’s great about not only notating what he does in the text accompanying his videos, but also replying to the comments.

This is the latest video added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of live performances of ambient music. More from r beny, aka Californian musician Austin Cairns, at

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